Your children's names and their Resume Factor

[name_m]Reading[/name_m] a comment in another thread got me thinking about this.

When you name a person, how much did/do you consider “the resume factor” - considerations as to how serious or authoritative their name will look on s piece of paper, in a job application, on a name plate?

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you try to channel Darwinistic powers into your name choice, so your child will have a higher chance of succeeding in our crazy world?

I have so far named one child, and The Resume [name_m]Factor[/name_m] was NOT a criterion for it. Instead, we picked our son’s name based on whether it felt like “the right name” for him, taking into account beauty and meaning of the name. We wanted our name choice to serve as a source of guidance in life for our child.

But now I’m curious as to how others make their choices. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you consider resume scenarios and the like when deciding on a name?

I did not think about all that when I named my daughter. We picked a name that we liked and that was significant to my husband’s culture. He chose her middle name, Xochitl, which means flower in his native language. We both agreed on Noemi for her first name. But I can see Noemi getting a good job in the future. It is a real name even though its not common in the United States. “Barack” is not a typical “American” name, but he is the United States president.

In the sense that I will not name my child [name_f]Buttercup[/name_f] [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f]-[name_u]Bright[/name_u] Sprinkles, yes. I definitely do think of a “resume factor” in regards to picking names for our future child, but not to get them ahead of a person named [name_m]Dax[/name_m], [name_f]Bluebell[/name_f], [name_m]Bear[/name_m], or Kayleigha. It is debatable as to whether or not HR folks actually take an applicant’s name into consideration when thumbing through resumes. I know some who do and know others who claim not to, whether they are correct/in the wrong for doing so or not.

My “resume factor” really just boils down to the quality of the name. [name_m]How[/name_m] does it look on paper? [name_m]How[/name_m] will it appear to myself, my child, and others who see his/her records, have to read the name off of a roster, who have to hire him/her, who will doodle his/her name into notebooks, and so on. To me, it is sort of like the “back door” test drive (ya know, when you yell on the playground or out your back door so you can hear how the name you are considering actually sounds)…how is the name, really? I have found that I like the way some names sound, but hate them on paper…just the same as liking how some names look on paper, but hating how they sound. I find that coming up with potential scenarios (such as writing out the name or pretending it is being said at a ceremony) helps me to gain a clear head when it comes to naming. It can help me find flaws in my naming logic. That’s just me though. Everyone is truly free to do as they like and I realize that people might think it is ridiculous to do a “resume test” on a name. We all have our opinions on names (that’s why we are here, after all) and might agree/disagree with how someone else chose their kid’s name, but hey…as long as the kid in question is loved, fed, and warm, that’s what matters!

I’m not a mother, so you can take my response with a grain of salt :slight_smile: For me it’s a yes. I’m job searching and given how demoralizing job hunting/rejections can be, it’s been a frequent thought. Of course you don’t know what the child would grow up to want to be. A supreme court judge might want a different name than someone that’s in a more creative field.

A lot of this comes down to how easy the name is to spell and pronounce. Take these for example: [name_f]Paige[/name_f], [name_u]Payge[/name_u], [name_u]Page[/name_u], or Paije, [name_f]Paige[/name_f] is the most common spelling. People are likely to assume that spelling just by hearing it and it doesn’t have huge pronunciation problems. Paije on the other hand will likely be a hassle to spell and people may look at it and just have a :confused: reaction. I also consider associations. It’s why culturally sensitive names are a big no to me. It may not bother the parents, but it might bother people that the child needs interact with for networking or the hiring managers.

I have not named a child yet but this is something I look at when thinking about my favorite names. For me, I don’t necessarily picture the name on a job resume. I see if I can picture it on a campaign poster. For example, my youngest sister has a classmate named Makylie. My mom and I were talking about it the other day, and I told her how a deciding factor for me is how well the name would look on a campaign sign. I just can’t picture “Vote Makylie [name_m]Smith[/name_m] - Kansas State Representative” on a sign on the side of the road. I could picture, however, a Makylie as a hairdresser or something.

Another thing I think about, since it’s a very real thought in my life right now lol, is how a full name would sound being said at a high school graduation. Can I really imagine someone saying “[name_f]Andromeda[/name_f] Nightingale [name_f]Sansa[/name_f] [name_m]Jones[/name_m]” at a graduation ceremony? Probably not, although maybe that’s only because I go to a public high school in a very conservative area. I can imagine someone announcing “[name_f]Iris[/name_f] [name_f]Matilda[/name_f] [name_m]Jones[/name_m]” or “[name_u]August[/name_u] [name_u]Laurence[/name_u] [name_m]Jones[/name_m]”.

Lots of good points here!

Re [name_m]Barack[/name_m], so true- was thinking of it as I typed about Next President name.

The names we hear today will become normal - [name_u]MacKenzie[/name_u], [name_m]Oliver[/name_m], [name_m]Ethan[/name_m], [name_f]Kyla[/name_f]… These names will be on campaign posters of the future. They may sound novel right now but they won’t be 20-30 years from now.

I know couples who used to fret about [name_u]Owen[/name_u] and [name_m]Oliver[/name_m] being too unusual just a couple years ago… In the US, you just have to wait a few years sometimes to see where the naming trend goes.

I do agree that I try to stay away from “too ethnic” sounding or looking names. Which does pose a challenge since both my personal name taste AND my family tree is bursting with ethnicity. That was one if the reasons we picked an American name that would be easy to spell and pronounce for our first one.

This is a factor for me, and a big reason why I wouldn’t go with a strange spelling. People [name_f]DO[/name_f] make judgements based on the name at the top of the resume.

If the name on the resume was [name_m]Jackson[/name_m] [name_u]Hunter[/name_u] [name_m]Smith[/name_m], the boss would probably read the whole thing carefully and schedule an interview. If it was spelled as Jaxsyn Huntyre [name_m]Smith[/name_m], the boss and all the assistant managers would probably just laugh unless Jaxsyn Huntyre [name_m]Smith[/name_m] was applying for something in the artistic field.

There are some occupations where having a kooky name would sound down right weird in my opinion. I simply can’t imagine a cop saying “Officer [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f] [name_m]Johnson[/name_m], reporting for duty!” or having a doctor’s appointment with Dr. [name_m]Zayden[/name_m] [name_m]Brown[/name_m]. On the flip side, I could easily imagine a makeup artist named Songbird or something equally out there. People with really creative names would likely seek a creative or artsy job.

Yes, I wouldn’t use a name that can be considered “ridiculous” or not serious enough: creative spellings, nickname-y names or most of word names wouldn’t do it for me. However, I think that as long as the name exists (even if it’s far from common) you should be fine.

We used a word name for our son: [name_u]Sage[/name_u].

I find “word names” a really tricky category. [name_f]Rose[/name_f], [name_f]Pearl[/name_f], [name_f]Daisy[/name_f], [name_u]June[/name_u] are word names too, but so well-established that you may not notice. Which word names will become established and which ones will remain oddities is hard to tell. I know grown Sages and so for me, it’s an established name.

I am a Corporate Recruiter by trade, and obviously I do think that way. Though I would never and have never discriminated against candidates named Synnamon and B’Right (real names), I don’t think I’d like my child going through life with that sort of name because undoubtedly, there’s a snicker when you first see that person CC’ed on an email. Same thing as schoolyard politics, workplace politics can be even worse.

That’s why I said “most” and not all of them xd. [name_u]Sage[/name_u] is a well established name, so are most of flower-nature names. I think there may be a line that can be draw when it is fine to use a word name and when it can be “complicated”. If upon hearing one word name you never think about it as a name, then you may enter in the “complicated” land. When I hear [name_u]Sage[/name_u] I think of the plant AND the name. When I wrote that i was thinking mostly in names like [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f], [name_f]Saffron[/name_f] or things like that.

Well, I definitely want a name to sound formal and serious. That’s why I would always chose a full name and not a nickname for a baby, whatever I would call him/her at home. I don’t picture the name on a resume or any document but still, I want it to sound formal rather than cute.

I would never have termed it the resume factor, but I would absolutely consider how the names I gave my child would wear as s/he was a baby, kid, teen, young adult, middle aged person, and old person. Sure, [name_f]Heidi[/name_f] is a cute name, but an adult [name_f]Heidi[/name_f] seems like an oxymoron to me (emphasis on the “to me” part).

I would choose first names with a certain gravitas or classic quality. Our unborn children are [name_u]Owen[/name_u] and [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f]. These were not chosen for their resumes, but certainly would have carried them through life just fine.

I feel much more leeway about middle names, fancying place, word, color, gem, tree, and flower names in that position as well as some of my more daring “normal” choices. And of course honor names as middles too.

What I do think is patently unfair and inexcusably selfish is people who name their daughters [name_f]Bluebell[/name_f] or Sassafras or their boys [name_m]Wrecker[/name_m] or [name_m]Craven[/name_m]. If people want those names, they should change their own names. I don’t hire people in my line of work but when I see a little [name_f]Bluebell[/name_f] or [name_m]Wrecker[/name_m] (or a Destineee or [name_m]Brayan[/name_m]), I think oh dear, oh dear, and that is not what any parent should want for his or her child.

This perplexes me. Everyone has ancestries. The only American names so to speak are Native American names!

I don’t think my answer will deviate too much from the previous posters, but I would like to throw in that there are countless studies that show that applicants with “ethnic” names don’t receive the same opportunities that those with “normal” sounding/“white” names are given. Most of the studies do focus on black/African American sounding names, but even Latino and Muslim individuals experience unfavourable treatment based on their name.

There are studies that show that females with obviously feminine names are less likely to study STEM subjects, and that boys with feminine names are more likely to misbehave.

In that regard, I think it’s important to consider the impact your child’s name might have on their future. The apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree, so if a child named [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f] is born to artsy parents, there’s a chance that they’re going to grow up to be similar and pursue a job that their name will probably suit. Obviously there’s still a lot of prejudice and ignorance in our world, so it’s a shame that names that are legitimate in other cultures get seen in a less favourable light than names like [name_u]James[/name_u] or [name_f]Angela[/name_f]. Names are important; they’re our number one identifier in most cases. [name_m]Even[/name_m] if you don’t necessarily aspire for your baby to grow up to be a lawyer or someone else in a position of power, it’s still wise to take into account other people’s perceptions of the name. Not just friends and family, but people the child might have to interact with later on, like job recruiters or college admissions coordinators. A lot of people are taking their baby name inspiration from unique places, but when the time comes, a name like [name_f]Sophia[/name_f] is still probably going to be looked at more seriously than a Paizlee.

I mean, we chose an English name. A word name from the English language. I’m an immigrant to the US, so my ancestry might be fuller of names a native English speaker wouldn’t be able to pronounce.

I also had the pleasure personally to grow up with an ethnic name in a different foreign country, and am familiar with the discrimination you receive on a daily basis before anyone even knows anything else about you. While I do love my name now, I did grow up wishing I had a common name from the culture I was growing up in.

I termed it the Resume [name_m]Factor[/name_m] because I was curious how many name nerds actually do consider this aspect of a name. Not the more general considerations like whether a name ages well.

I read in a comment in a different thread that “we are biologically inclined to give our children a name that will give them a leg up in the world”, so this is specifically what I’m asking about.

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you pick names that will impress other people? Names that suggest power or status or superiority of any kind?

vc2013, I think that the statement you quoted - “we are biologically inclined to give our children a name that will give them a leg up in the world” is highly problematic. I could see proposing that we are inclined to do what we think is best for our children, generally speaking. Though, “biological inclination” certainly doesn’t equal reality for all.

As for “The Resume [name_m]Factor[/name_m]:” It seems to me that there is a broader question of whether the namer values fitting in or standing out. For some, the idea is to fit in with the local, national, or even international culture(s) enough to be seen for their merits and work history. Name conformity symbolizes conformity with the local ideals and workplace culture. For namers in Group A, the focus is on not bestowing a name that would detract from perceptions of the person’s merits. For namers in Group B, the idea is to stand out, to catch the eye of an HR professional, to represent creativity and individuality.

I’d say the majority of people on NB are going for a name that’s mostly Group A but with just enough Group B flair to tick off those boxes as well. That game can get laughable, but I relate.

I have a relevant story! I am a twin, she got the normal name and I got the special snowflake name. Senior year, applying for summer jobs. We’re lazy and just copy/paste a near identical resume-we have the same experience and junk anyway. She overwhelmingly got more call backs.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, name has an undeniable impact on an individual’s competitiveness in the job market (linked to economic well being).